Tuesday 20 February 2018

Iran 'not concerned by US Congress'

Hassan Rouhani says Iran is pursuing a
Hassan Rouhani says Iran is pursuing a "dignified" agreement with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (AP)
Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, arriving in Tehran from talks in Switzerland (AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed pressure from the US Congress over a preliminary deal on Iran's nuclear programme, saying Tehran is dealing with world powers - not American politicians.

President Rouhani spoke in the northern city of Rasht, saying that Iran is pursuing a "dignified" agreement with the six-member group - the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

The speech came after US President Barack Obama bowed to pressure from Republicans and Democrats and agreed to sign compromise legislation giving Congress the right to reject a nuclear deal with Iran.

Tehran and world powers reached a framework agreement earlier this month to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions. The deal is to be finalised by June 30.

The disputes between the Obama administration and Congress are an "internal issue," Mr Rouhani said.

"Our partner is not the US Congress or the Senate, our partner is a group called '5 plus 1,'" he said, referring to the six world powers - the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany - that are negotiating with Iran.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with our government and nation what ... US representatives or hard-liners say ... We are looking for reciprocal ... good will and respect," he said.

President Rouhani reiterated his stance expressed last week that Tehran will not sign on to any final deal with the six powers unless all economic sanctions are completely lifted.

"If there is no end to sanctions, there will be no deal," said Mr Rouhani.

UN nuclear inspectors also arrived in Iran to investigate suspicions that Tehran worked on nuclear weapons, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying that inspectors from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency would discuss with Iranian officials "unresolved issues" surrounding a military site in Marivan, in western Iran.

A 2011 IAEA report indicated that large-scale high-explosive experiments were conducted in Marivan, near the Iraqi border.

Talks with the IAEA are parallel to Iran's nuclear negotiations with world powers. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Press Association

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